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Thread: Vrentas: Jets' Joe McKnight looking for growth in his third season

  1. #1
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    Vrentas: Jets' Joe McKnight looking for growth in his third season

    Published: Sunday, August 12, 2012

    CORTLAND, N.Y. — Joe McKnight might have run “pretty good,” in his own words, in Friday night’s preseason opener. But he was bothered by his final carry of the game.

    The Jets’ third-year running back lost a yard, driven back by a gang of Bengals defenders late in the 17-6 loss, and he was disappointed in himself.

    “We can’t afford to lose yards when we are down in a position like that,” he said. “We’re trying to get all the yards we can get, and I kind of ran backwards. It’s something I can’t do toward the end of the game.”

    Every yard and every carry count to McKnight because he’s trying to earn a role in the new offense. He became a dynamic kick returner last year, but he wants to contribute more to the team, beyond the tally of 323 rushing yards he managed across his first two seasons.

    And it’s clear he has competition. Shonn Greene is the starting “bellcow,” but McKnight also appears to have been leapfrogged on the depth chart by second-year back Bilal Powell.

    Powell took the reps as the Jets’ third-down back, used on all four of the starting offense’s third downs Friday night. McKnight’s first plays were with Tim Tebow and the second-team offense, and he also played with Greg McElroy and the third string.

    Coach Rex Ryan, though, has said roles won’t be declared until the end of the preseason. He praised McKnight, who had seven carries for 32 yards and three catches for 34 yards Friday, for playing “extremely well.”

    “I feel like it is still wide open,” McKnight said. “I’ve got to be more consistent just to be that third-down back and work on my pass protection. Bilal is a great pass protector, and that’s something I’ve got to work on.”

    McKnight says he’s been “up and down” in camp, so he’s hoping for a strong finish. He sat out with food poisoning one day and later suffered a stinger. His toughest day was last Monday, when he and safety D’Anton Lynn — the son of McKnight’s position coach — got into an on-field fight that drew in about 20 teammates and spilled over to the sideline.

    At the tail end of a carry, Lynn gave McKnight an extra shove after he was out of bounds, and McKnight reacted by spiking the football at Lynn’s helmet and swinging at him. It was the first of a brief rash of practice-field skirmishes. Ryan decried the fights, at one point telling the media, “I don’t need a guy throwing a football.”

    McKnight admits that his emotions got the best of him, and he called it “a learning experience.” He says he is trying to grow, both physically and mentally, in a critical third season.

    “I’m just trying to stay focused and be more of a people person,” McKnight said. “I’m trying, but it’s kind of hard, because I’ve been to myself all my life. So I’m trying to come out of my shell.”

    That is a personal goal, not necessarily sparked by one event or advice from one person.

    The former fourth-round pick out of USC wants better results than his first two seasons.

    “I just want to try something new,” he said. “I felt like things weren’t working that good for me last year being to myself. Just everything, in how I was approaching everything. It was not the right way. I was very negative. Not to anybody else, but to myself.”

    McKnight says he sees improvement. He thinks the game has slowed down, and he feels good running between the tackles now. He’s at his target playing weight of 205 to 207 pounds after playing at 195 last year.

    But he knows he needs to be more consistent. He’s also working on improving his technique in pass protection, making sure he stays his stance to “punch and shoot,” so he doesn’t get beat.

    “I’m still trying to catch Coach Sparano’s eye,” McKnight said, referring to the offensive coordinator. “It is still my make-or-break year. I want to do good if I want to be back here next year.”

    http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/201...oking_for.html

  2. #2
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    Maybe it's time to start questioning whoever is coaching the tight ends. I mean it's been a couple of years for multiple TEs now and a lot of off-season time that could have been spent learning and practicing advanced blocking techniques.

    Never played a blocking position so I can't say for sure, but isn't blocking something that can be taught and practiced?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetsNeedNewton View Post
    Maybe it's time to start questioning whoever is coaching the tight ends. I mean it's been a couple of years for multiple TEs now and a lot of off-season time that could have been spent learning and practicing advanced blocking techniques.

    Never played a blocking position so I can't say for sure, but isn't blocking something that can be taught and practiced?
    It certainly is... but only to an extent.

    You need to have great flexibility and agility. Especially on the outside.

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    I don't care what the practice reports say, McKnight is light years ahead of Powell.

    Powell can tear it up on the practice field all he wants, doesn't mean dick if he's going to look totally lost during live games.

  5. #5
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    Yeah I got to agree with you there. McKnight in my opinion, looked very good vs the bengals. He found the hole and was able to make a good passing option when he was needed. Not saying he will take te starting spot but i do think he has a much better chance of breaking one whereas Greene is more consistently getting 3,4 yards per carry

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetsNeedNewton View Post
    Maybe it's time to start questioning whoever is coaching the tight ends. I mean it's been a couple of years for multiple TEs now and a lot of off-season time that could have been spent learning and practicing advanced blocking techniques.

    Never played a blocking position so I can't say for sure, but isn't blocking something that can be taught and practiced?
    Blocking, especially for a TE is mostly about effort, heart, and a willingness to to seek out contact.

    We see so little given the tv angles etc as fans, that we simply don't get into the nuances of each play. We look at how our offensive line has struggled each year, but at what point do we blame keller for being so damn afraid to mix it up as a blocker.

    Keller is exceptional after the catch, but doesn't block and drops balls.....basically he takes more off the table then he brings to it, which is a problem for our offense.

    As for mcknight, he seems to be tougher this year, and i don't mind the fight at all. He's been ripped and critiqued his whole career here, and being pushed out of bounds by some rookie, who is the coaches son, shouldn't be tolerated, IMO.

    Hopefully he can bring some speed to the running game.

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    I know I've been a big McKnight defender here, so my opinion probably doesn't count for all that much, but he looked like the best player on offense out there Friday night.

    _

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    Quote Originally Posted by JStokes View Post
    I know I've been a big McKnight defender here, so my opinion probably doesn't count for all that much, but he looked like the best player on offense out there Friday night.

    _
    i agree. must have been all that mcdonalds.

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    Well it's not going to be hard from him to "grow" as a RB, given his 3.1ypc against defenses geared for the pass. The bar has been set at an awfully low level.

    McNight earned his roster spot on special teams last season. I look forward to seeing him excel again (if he can hold on to the ball). But as a runner he's done nothing, and while his game against the Bengal scrubs was better than last season, it still doesn't make me any more comfortable that he can be a factor running the ball consistently. If he's in the game I'm only comfortable if they are throwing the ball to him, not handing it off.

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    A mystery to me is he still looks hesitant once he passes the first level unlike Reggie Bush. I don't remember much from his USC days but he sure looked different then. It's like he's worried about making a mistake instead of just being natural.

  11. #11
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    On Bilal Powell
    I have been impressed with what Bilal has done in two areas to be honest with you. He is a lot shiftier player. I did a lot of work on Bilal when he was coming out of college. I actually spent an awful lot of time with him. We had him up for a top-20 visit and we visited him at the Senior Bowl and a lot of different stops along the way because he had the one really good year there, that final year. I was impressed and have been impressed with his suddenness and his vision. I think he sees it pretty good from what I have seen so far.

    The other thing I have been impressed with is his willingness to block. He has done a good job as well as all of the backs right now. [RBs coach] Anthony Lynn has done a good job with those guys, getting them in the right spot there. Joe McKnight did a good job the other night blocking. Bilal did a good job. Bilal, at one point in the game, had to block a defensive end. It just happened in this game we would not have done it in a normal situation but it just happened and he did a good job. I have been impressed with that part of it. Mentally, he has done a really nice job.

    http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/arti...a-45f1906d66d9

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    This team needs McKnight to come through for us in a bad way. He needs to step up and take the rock from Greene. He has the talent, yet right now something is missing. I don't know if it's the mental aspect or the drive, but he needs to get it together. Greene has no burst whatsoever. Hell Benjarvis Green Ellis made me jealous of the Bengals for having a guy that can get outside and make something happen out of nothing. When Greene gets 4 yards I'm relieved. If McKnight gets his act together he could be the starter.

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    McKnight brings much needed speed to the Jets backfield. Powell needs to produce this next preseaon game along with Maybin and others who got rave reviews but played lukewarm to say the least vs the stripes

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    For the sake of our running game we need McKnight to take it to the next level

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Mart View Post
    Published: Sunday, August 12, 2012

    “I’m still trying to catch Coach Sparano’s eye,” McKnight said, referring to the offensive coordinator. “It is still my make-or-break year. I want to do good if I want to be back here next year.”

    http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/201...oking_for.html
    If you want to do something about it, get off your lazy, fat McDonald's eating A$$ and stop being a punk!

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